Documenting your wishes in a will is one of the best ways to protect them and ensure they are properly carried out. It can be a difficult process to create a will, but once you have one in place, you can be confident that you, your assets and your loved ones are taken care of.
However, your wishes can change over time, especially when your financial circumstances and your network of family and friends changes. In order to make sure your will and other estate planning documentation remains relevant and accurate, you would be wise to periodically review them and make certain changes.
There are some common events that could spark a need for changing (or at least reviewing) your will, as noted in this FindLaw article. These events include:
- Remarriage or divorce
- Having a child or welcoming a grandchild into the family
- Losing a loved one
- Deterioration of a personal relationship
- Significant influx or loss in personal wealth
- Life-changing medical event
- Passage of several years since you last reviewed your will
Under these circumstances, there could be a few critical details that need to be revised in order for your will to be up-to-date and an accurate representation of your wishes.
If you decide to just draw up a will and then never review it again, you could be putting your loved ones in a very difficult position. In many cases, someone can have grounds to challenge the will, which can lead to a lengthy probate process. Feelings can be hurt and relationships can be jeopardized if someone is left out of a will. Further, your wishes for how you want your assets distributed could be left in the hands of a stranger if your will is outdated.
Rather than risk any of these unfortunate complications or put your friends and family through more grief, you would be wise to regularly review your will and estate plan with an attorney and make any changes that you may feel are necessary.